Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face, New Study Shows

Sheep Can Recognize Obama's Face, New Study Shows

Neuroscientists from the University of Cambridge posted a report in the Royal Society Open Science journal on Tuesday asserting that sheep are capable of distinguishing faces of animals, humans, celebrities and even former President Barak Obama as well.

"We've shown with our study that sheep have advanced face-recognition abilities, comparable with those of humans and monkeys".

Recognizing human faces is a skill you may take for granted-but you're also a human.

Morton and her team recently began research on sheep that have been genetically modified to carry the mutation for Huntington's disease.

Jake Gyllenhaal, seen here with an animal that is not a sheep.




Initially, the sheep were trained to approach certain images by being given food rewards. After training, the sheep were shown two photographs - the celebrity's face and another face.

Next, researchers paired a celebrity mug, like Gyllenhaal's now-familiar face, with an unfamiliar person. In these initial tests, the sheep were shown the faces from the front, but to test how well they recognised the faces, the researchers next showed them the faces at an angle.

They then challenged the animals again, this time by showing them a picture of the same celebrity, but using a new photo of their face tilted at an angle.

The research isn't just a silly test, though. However, the ability of sheep to identify faces was unclear. The scientists have been rewarded better for measuring the brain functions of sheep. "Either the human face is similar enough to the sheep face that [it] activates the sheep face-processing system, or human-face recognition relies on more general-purpose recognition systems".

Along with dogs and monkeys, sheep are social animals that can recognize other sheep as well as familiar people, the study authors explained. "My guess is that the ability of sheep to recognize human faces is a by-product of selection to discriminate between different sheep faces", he says.

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